Cobra Warrior 23-2

Exercise Cobra Warrior is a biannual training programme and the largest exercise run by the Royal Air Force. Pilots and aircrews participate in simulated combat missions that will challenge their skills and test how well they can work together.

The first Cobra Warrior exercise in 2023 took place in March. This second round, Cobra Warrior 23-2 at RAF Waddington will last from Monday, September 4 until Friday, September 29. The multinational training scheme brings together aircrews from the RAF, the Royal Canadian Air Force, the United States Air Force and the Italian Air Force.

RAF Waddington is home to the iconic aerobats the Red Arrows, as well as the intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition, and reconnaissance (ISTAR) system, which is considered to be the ‘eyes and ears’ of the RAF. It is roughly five miles south of Lincoln.

Cobra Warrior 23-2 is flown in the skies over England, Scotland and the surrounding ocean. This provides valuable opportunities for participating units to practice and develop tactics, techniques and procedures in complex scenarios against near peer adversaries. Participants will train in air interdiction, dynamic targeting, offensive counter and defensive counter air and suppression of enemy air defense.

Taking part in exercise Cobra warrior 23-2 are contingents from NATO: the Italian, Canadian, Royal Norwegian and United States air forces. RAF 29 squadron flies four Typhoons from RAF Coningsby. The Canadians are operating seven CF-188A Hornets from 433 TFS deployed to RAF Waddington, supported by a CC-150 Polaris air-to-air refuelling aircraft at RAF Lossiemouth. Also, temporarily based at Waddington are a Gulfstream E-550A intelligence platform from 14 Stormo of the Italian air force and a pair of NATO AEWF E-3A Sentries. The Royal Norwegian air force has deployed six new F-35s of 332 Skv to RAF Lakenheath for the duration of the exercise. The USAFE participates with 18 F-16C/Ds from the 52nd FW at Spangdahlem, operating from RAF Mildenhall.

KC-135 Stratotankers assigned to the 100th Air Refueling Wing are participating from their homestation RAF Mildenhall by providing aerial refueling, and HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopters assigned to the 31st Fighter Wing, Aviano Air Base, Italy, are also participating from RAF Leeming, by providing combat search and rescue during the event.



The Royal Canadian Air Force send seven CF-188A Hornet jets from 433 Tactical Fighter Sqn to RAF Waddington. This aircraft 188757 is returning to Waddington after a late afternoon mission on September 5th.


No less than 18 F-16C/Ds from 52 FW / 480 FS at Spangdahlem AB Germany were deployed to RAF Mildenhall for Cobra Warrior 23-2, including ‘boss bird’ 91-352 ’52 FW’.


USAFE F-35A from 48th TFW departs RAF Lakenheath for a Cobra warrior 23-2 mission, September 7th.